9 Children's Books to Welcome Spring

March 20, 2018

While it may be a few more weeks before we see any little flowers peeking through the earth, or buds on the trees, there are sure signs of spring in the dawn chorus of birds outside our window, the lingering sun in the evenings, and that sudden burst of energy and motivation to clean out closets, start new projects, and get outdoors more. Last week I took part in the Fawn & Forest Nurturing Spaces challenge, which prompted some small and thoughtful changes to Ramona's room (rearranging the contents of her shelves and baskets) as we approach this new season, encouraging new ideas and play for her. We feel ready and hopeful for all the new things this season will bring into our lives.

I've gathered together a few of our favourite children's titles surrounding the spring season, all about growth and a respect for life and all living things, no matter how small.

Weeds Find a Way by Cindy Jensen-Elliot is a celebration of all those flowers and vines that are commonly identified as weeds, captured in charming, colourful imagery and simple text. The message of the story: whether you love them or hate them, weeds are here to stay - and they're actually quite beautiful if you are willing to change your perspective a little.

Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis begins with a small green shoot sprouting up from the earth, curiously observed by the various insects that pass by. As the little plan begins to grow and grow, we see a story begins to unfold with the creatures surrounding it - some beetles build a fort in its leaves, a spider decides to spin it's web atop it only to be snatched away by a large bird, a grasshopper plays soothing music in the night. And finally, a flower begins to emerge! The story takes places over the seasons, from spring to summer, autumn to winter, and spring again. The book features a fun gibberish language spoken by the insects, simple enough for the reader to decode through the illustrations.

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson is a wordless picture book following a young child and her father walking through the city. The illustrations are striking and mainly monochromatic - except for a splash of colour as the child comes across flowers growing up through cracks in the sidewalk, through fences, and along concrete walls. The story allows the reader to make up their own story, and to take note of little details from the perspective of a child - even in the midst of concrete, asphalt, and bricks, nature finds a way to flourish and share it's beauty with us if we take the time to notice.

Spring by Gerda Muller is a wordless board book, depicting beautiful scenes from spring, such as planting a garden, greeting new baby animals, visiting the farm, painting easter eggs, and playing in wildflowers. This book is part of the four-part seasonal series by Gerda Muller - the illustrations are truly beautiful for both child and adult to enjoy.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner is another wonderful nature collaboration with Christopher Silas Neal as the illustrator. The story follows a young girl working in the garden with her grandmother, first preparing the earth to plant seeds, watering the growing plants, and playing with her grandmother. All spring and summer-long the young girl takes notice of the creatures that visit her garden, both among the flowers and in the dirt - bees, butterflies, birds, earthworms, slugs. It's a wonderful story about growth and nature in our own backyard.

The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle Von Olfers begins with Mother Earth, nestled in a cozy burrow within the earth, waking her children to prepare for spring. The little children sew themselves new clothes, and help their beetle and bug friends get ready as well by bathing and painting them - and are sent out in a parade, carrying flowers, into spring. This gentle, simple story follows the children through each of the seasons, until they climb back under the earth with winter on its way, greeted by their Mother Earth. The smaller board book version of this story, My First Root Children (pictured below), has been a favourite of my daughter's since she was quite small, with simplified text.

The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes is the story of a little gardener, no bigger than your little finger, and the garden that he cares for with the company of his earthworm friend, Wormy. The garden is his home, his supper, and his joy, and he works all day and night to take care of it - but no matter how hard he works, the garden is dying, all except one flourishing flower. Discouraged, he wishes that he had a little help - and one day, someone else takes notice of the blossom and gives the little gardener the helping hand he needed to make his garden thrive. The text is quite simple, and the illustrations are absolutely darling - one of our family favourites.

Planting rainbow by Lois Ehlert is the story of a child who plants a "rainbow" in their garden each year with their mother, starting in early spring when seeds and seedlings are planted in the earth and cared for until they begin to grow into every colour of the rainbow. The story shares brightly coloured illustrations of flowers by colour - red, orange, yellow, etc. - and teaches the reader their names as well.

The Story of the Butterfly Children by Sibylle Von Olfers is a charming story of how baby caterpillars and chrysalid children are raised by their loving caretakers - Mother Silkmoth, Mother Swallowtail and Madam Dragonfly - as they prepare to become butterflies. On the first day of spring sunbeams, messengers of the sun, are sent down to give the children their wings and send them off on new adventures. The story is quite simple and gentle, with beautiful illustrations that show a great reverence for nature and insect life.

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